Last November a film blog that I regularly read shared a short documentary video that touched me in an unexpected way. It featured Christopher Dennis, a guy whose alter ego is Superman on Hollywood Boulevard. I had never heard of him before, but given my fascination and often adoration of people who create elaborate costumes of their favorite cosplayers, I clicked on the video.
The documentary’s soft, colorful, cinematography complemented its fantastic subject. It portrayed Mr. Dennis in a respectful way that was tender in satisfying its cinematic curiosity. It offered a fascinating glimpse into his life.
He is serious about Superman and really looks the part.
The crazy thing is that after I finished the documentary, I really wanted to meet him. I can’t think of any star I have ever really wanted to go out of my way to meet as much as the “Hollywood Superman.”
As luck would have it, this past Christmas we decided to spend with my sister who lives in L.A. After the holiday passed, I got my chance to visit Hollywood Boulevard to find Superman.
Imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find him. After looking everywhere along the road in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, I gave up.
We were a short way down the “walk of fame,” looking at sidewalk stars and tourists, when we came upon an area that was roped off with a small crowd gathering. A security guard told me that they were preparing for Helen Mirren to get her star. Since it isn’t everyday that one gets to see a star and a star installed, we thought perhaps we would hang around for a bit to get a glimpse of Ms. Mirren.
While waiting around and looking at folks in the crowd, just one row up I spotted a guy wearing a black leather jacket who, in profile, looked a lot like the guy from the Superman documentary. I couldn’t quite tell.
Then, I noticed that his leather jacket had a huge silver Superman “S” embossed on the back of it. Surprised that it might actually be him, I called over to him in a low voice.
“Superman? Superman, is that you?” At the time, I couldn’t remember his name.
He didn’t hear me. I felt a bit silly calling out to a stranger in a crowd asking him if he was Superman. The person next to me must have thought I was a bit off. Then again, it was L.A.
I got his attention of the person next to him, who in turn got his attention. When he turned around I asked him, “Are you Superman?”
“Yes. I’m Superman.”
I had randomly run into the very guy that I had hoped to find. What were the chances? I briefly told him how I had seen the documentary and went looking for him and couldn’t find him and had given up. He asked which documentary it was. (I didn’t know that there had been another more famous one!) He replied that he would be there in costume the next day.
He was there to see Helen Mirren. He had a prime spot up in front, so there was no way for me to really have any kind of interaction. Not that I really knew what to say anyway. I didn’t know the guy—he was a complete stranger beyond the documentary. It was clear that in his eyes I was just another tourist on Hollywood Boulevard.
Actually, I was. So I did what any tourist would do. “Hey Superman, can I take your photo?”
“Sure,” he replied and effortlessly struck the pose that I imagine he has done tens of thousands of times. I said thank you, and then he paused.
“Hang on a minute.” He gestured to the person he was with and she opened a case. Inside was a stack of photos of Superman, crouching in costume, on the top of a roof with his cape blowing in the wind. For ten bucks Superman would sign one for me.
After carefully rolling it up and tucking it under my arm, I thanked him and we left Mr. Dennis to wait for Helen. We decided not to wait around for her. She was a good actress, but she was no Superman.